2018 Free National Park Days in the United States
I’m a big fan of the U.S. national parks – they are truly a gift from previous generations. Our greatest national treasure. And I highly recommend getting out to visit as many as you can in your lifetime.
This year’s free national park days are:
- January 15: Martin Luther King Jr. Day (sorry, didn’t get this out in time)
- April 21: First Day of National Park Week
- September 22: National Public Lands Day
- November 11: Veterans Day
Sadly, this year, there will be no free admission during the week of “National Park Week” as there has been in recent years.
And yes, these are fewer free days than in prior years.
What Parks Participate in Free National Park Days?
The NPS oversees 413 national parks. 289 of them do not charge entrance, admission, commercial tour, or transportation fees. 124 of them – often the highest traffic parks – do. Here’s a list of the parks that usually charge an entrance fee.
Tours, camping, concessions, or third-party fees are not covered, unless the individual park states otherwise. With some national parks, it might be really hard to get camping permits for these days, unless you plan ahead and reserve now.
It includes the 10 most visited national parks, where you would otherwise have to pay to get in:
- Great Smoky Mountains (Tennessee)
- Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)
- Yosemite National Park (California)
- Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)
- Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)
- Olympic National Park (Washington)
- Zion National Park (Utah)
- Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)
- Acadia National Park (Maine)
- Glacier National Park (Montana)
If you’re looking for other parks, you can see a full national park map here.
Remember to be careful with parks that are at a high altitude, suffer from spring-time flash floods, or are in northern locations in the spring and winter. This is the untamed land, after all. Check with the park that you’re interested in visiting to identify which roads and campsites may still be closed.
If you plan on living a life of recreation this year, the NPS’s annual $80 America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass allows unlimited entrance to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including all national parks.
Free Entrance to National Parks from your Library?
Remember that national park passes are often times one of the free perks libraries offer. Check with your local library to see if they have a pass and for restrictions on how long you can reserve the pass. You may have to book it far in advance.
National Parks Discussion:
- What is your favorite national park, and why?